One of the most important aspects of running a business is establishing fair and legitimate terms with clients before taking on a new project. In this aim to protect the growing freelance economy, there is perhaps no greater advocate than The Freelancers Union, which spent the last year pushing through the landmark Freelance Isn’t Free Act. Passed by New York City Council last fall, the legislation is the first of its kind among major metropolitan areas and will go into effect beginning May 15.
While research from the Freelancers Union indicates that a staggering 70 percent of freelancers have been stiffed by a client at least once, only 28 percent say they always use a contract—likely due to the costs associated with seeking legal counsel.
Recognizing this need in the freelance community, we partnered with The Freelancers Union to develop the Standard Freelance Contract that can be used by all business owners to protect themselves when entering a new relationship. The free, customizable template allows any independent worker to create a fair and secure agreement in a matter of minutes.
So why is a standard good?
A standard eliminates the back-and-forth. When the agreement is vetted by a third party and a certain norm is established, it creates trust that the document is not leaning to one or the other side and that it’s not just some made-up contract from the Freelancer. This trust in the document to start with makes it easier to sign and therefore helps start new work relationships quicker.
People may tailor the agreement to specify ownership rights, apply things like cancellation and late fees, and add other custom protections. Equally fair for companies, the agreement establishes a clear scope of work, outlines confidentiality terms, and more.
Built on AND CO’s smart platform, the templatized contract is easy to navigate and supercharged with technology. Key features include:
- Customizable Fields: Edit and extend the contract to suit the need of a project and turn clauses on or off.
- Integrated E-Signing: Built into a smart workflow with e-signatures and more.
- Smart Alerts: Get alerts if contracts are not signed in time, when projects start and more.
- Layman Guidance: Helpful, easy to understand guidance outlines the basic contract elements and how to tailor the agreement to support various projects.
The Standard Freelance Contract, we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with The Freelancers Union to both protect the growing independent workforce as well as empower freelancers and self-employed hustlers with the tools needed to run an efficient and successful business.
Finally, while The Freelance Contract sets a standard, it is also a living document that will evolve based on input from the community. We invite you to share your experiences on the contract’s website, or in the comments below.